Multidivisional vs Metanational Governance of the Multinational Enterprise



The effective and efficient management of diversified business firms that supply multiple products and operate in multiple, dynamic markets, especially large multinational enterprises (MNEs), builds upon a number of specific governance principles. These governance principles allow the alignment of environmental characteristics, strategy and organization. Given the rising need to “learn from the world”, Doz et al., in their influential Harvard Business School Press book entitled From Global to Metanational, have proposed a new set of governance principles described under the “metanational” umbrella concept. This paper revisits the metanational, using a comparative institutional perspective; here we contrast multidivisional and metanational governance principles. A comparative institutional analysis suggests that the metanational’s application potential in terms of actually improving the effectiveness and efficiency of MNE governance may be subject to more qualification than suggested by Doz et al. Senior MNE management must therefore reflect carefully before substituting metanational governance principles for the more conventional, multidivisional ones with established contributions to managerial effectiveness and efficiency.
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Carolien Heintjes